Sunday, February 26, 2012

Programs for the Week of 2/27

I’d like to call your attention to next Wednesday’s Inside Islam show on Green Faith which is intended to whet your interest in an upcoming conference Interfaith Conference on the same theme, hosted by yours truly. It which will take place on Tuesday, March 6, starting at 6:00pm in the Pyle Center on the UW campus. For more information, you can view the PDF flyer

Jean’s Pick of the Week (watch video): South Africa's MenCare Project: I was very impressed with Wednesday’s show featuring the courageous work that MenCare is doing in South Africa to end the horrific sexual violence against women. Nothing like having a former anti-apartheid freedom fighter on your side, modeling a new way to be a real man.

Monday: How to be Black: Comedian Baratunde Thurston boasts having "over thirty years’ experience being black." Now, the digital director of The Onion shares his witty wisdom in a new book called, How to Be Black. Thurston provides answers to a range of pressing questions, including: "When did you first realize you were black?"; "How’s that post-racial thing working out for you?"; and, perhaps most urgent, "Can you swim?"

Tuesday: Panther Baby: As a member of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s, Jamal Joseph urged Columbia University students to burn their school to the ground. Today the former fugitive, who once topped the FBI's "most wanted" list, chairs Columbia's graduate film program. Joseph's new book, Panther Baby, explores his journey from urban guerrilla to Oscar nominee and Ivy League professor.

Wednesday: Green Faith: How does faith affect eco-consciousness? Is religion more focused on the after-life than on stewardship of the earth? Experts on Islam and Christianity join us for an interfaith conversation about faith and environmental activism. This show will preview an Inside Islam conference on Green Faith that will be held on March 6th at the Pyle Center at UW-Madison.

Thursday: Why Bother with Foreign Language Study?: In a recent New York Times op-ed, former Harvard University president Larry Summers speculated that, given the advances in translation software technology, foreign language study may soon be obsolete. The article provoked such an uproar that the Times created a forum to discuss it. To continue the debate, we’ve invited University of Minnesota history professor and linguist Giancarlo Casale (my son) to join us together with David Bellos, who directs the Program in Translation at Princeton.

Friday: La Boca: My husband and I were in Santa Fe a few weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon when I had a craving for a classic Italian family-style feast. We walked from place to place only to discover that, on Sunday, almost everything in SF is closed between brunch and dinner. We finally settled on a little place called La Boca, which turned out to be a Spanish tapas restaurant and, as each tantalizingly delicious little dish began to arrive, it didn’t take us long to realize we had stumbled into a little piece of heaven. The chef is famous; he has a new cookbook, and, best of all, he has agreed to be on the show, recipes and all!

It’s almost March – my farewell month.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Programs for the Week of 2/20

Jean’s Pick of the Week (watch video): Love, InshAllah: I didn’t realize how deeply implanted were my stereotypes about the love lives of Muslim women until I started reading Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi’s delightful anthology Love, InshAllah, which we featured last Tuesday as our Valentine’s Day Inside Islam special. The book is focused on American women, but it nevertheless has an international flavor, Nura herself being from Sri Lanka. I think those stereotypes I’ve been harboring got reinforced during my trip to Syria last April, just when the demonstrations there were beginning to surface. We stayed in Aleppo where things stayed pretty quiet, but I was undone by my perceptions of the women who were so heavily veiled as they walked through the streets that, in some extreme cases, they didn’t even have eye slits and had to keep pushing the veil away from their face in order just to see the ground under their feet. It upset me. I had an impression of severe repression. So imagine how liberating it was for me to read about lesbian encounters, stolen kisses, mad crushes, playful flirtations, and punk-drunk love!

Monday: Obama, Explained: President Obama is nearing the end of his first term but for many the charismatic figure who galvanized the electorate in 2008 remains an enigma. Who is Barack Obama? A savvy tactician with a long view of the hot issues, or an awkward politician adrift in Washington’s treacherous waters? We ask veteran journalist James Fallows to demystify the man and place his presidency in historical context.

Tuesday: Sailing with Micronesia’s Star Navigators: Traversing the Pacific in a handmade craft without instruments or even a map is not for the faint of heart. Yet for centuries, Micronesian navigators have guided themselves across vast stretches of ocean using nothing but nature’s clues and the knowledge handed down by their ancestors. Wisconsin-born James Campbell set out to find and sail with Micronesia’s last master navigators, and he lived to tell the tale.

Wednesday: South Africa's MenCare Project: Women are often the victims of male aggression in post-conflict situations. This is especially true in post-apartheid South Africa, where legacies of chauvinism and poverty fuel rising brutality, leading the country to be dubbed the "rape capital of the world." Former anti-apartheid activist Mbuyiselo Botha believes South Africa cannot be truly free until its women are safe. Botha works with the Sonke Gender Justice Network to combat sexual violence, helping men become active fathers and responsible members of their communities.

Thursday: Ridding Cambodia of its Land Mines: An International Model: Pol Pot, whose regime was responsible for the deaths of some 1.7 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979, purportedly called land mines his "perfect soldiers." They never sleep. They wait, with limitless patience. And, even when war ends, they continue to kill and maim boys gathering firewood, mothers sowing rice, girls herding goats. Despite its horrific history, Cambodia has now become a model for how a nation can recover from the scourge of land mines. National Geographic photographer, Lynn Johnson, went to investigate.

Friday: Hot & Cheesy: Cheese lover Clifford Wright did some fancy globe-trotting to come up with the recipes in his latest book which features cheeses from all over the world with recipes to match, from gooey macaroni to spicy quesadilla.

Happy very early spring! I saw snowdrops about to bloom on my walk to work this morning. Huzzah!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Programs for the Week of 2/13

Monday: Pigs for Profit: The Village Enterprise Fund's mission is to equip East Africans living in extreme poverty with resources to create sustainable businesses. Through small business grants, the fund helps entrepreneurs raise livestock to sell in local markets as a means of livelihood.

Tuesday: Love, InshAllah: What’s your image of Muslim women—repressed, oppressed, submissive? Not according to a new collection of stories about love, relationships and dating, written by Muslim-American women. Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi, co-editors of Love, InshAllah, join us to talk about the secret love lives of Muslim-American women.

Wednesday: 5 Broken Cameras: "If you are wounded you will always remember your wound, even after it’s healed. But what if you are injured again and again... you forget your scars. But the camera remembers and so I film to heal." - Emad Burnat

When Palestinian farmer, Emad Burnat, got his first video camera, he never dreamed of making a film--or history. He merely wanted to record memories of his new-born son. But when Israeli bulldozers move into his West Bank village, Emad turns into an overnight documentary filmmaker. Five smashed cameras later, and with the help of an Israeli filmmaker, he completes a remarkable film about West Bank life, called 5 Broken Cameras.

Thursday: Volunteering on Vacation: Can’t decide where to go on your next vacation? How about volunteering your time at a women’s NGO in India, or working with elephants in the jungles of Thailand? Richard Webb, founder and President of ProWorld, joins us to talk about how development and tourism can go hand in hand.

Friday: Sweet Tooth: The Bitter-Sweet History of Candy: How did candy evolve from medicine to luxury item to today’s ubiquitous M&M’s and Kitkat bars? A multi-million dollar industry has sprung up around confection, but candy has a dark and bitter history that has been hidden or mostly forgotten.

And on that sweet note: Happy Valentines' Day!

Jean and the team at Here on Earth

Friday, February 3, 2012

Programs for the Week of 2/6

Monday: The Poetry of Tomas Transtromer: Sweden’s Nobel Laureate: Robin Robertson talks about Nobel Laureate, Tomas Transtromer's poems. Transtromer’s friend and a gifted poet in his own right, Robertson compares the original Swedish poems with his own, luminous English translations.

Tuesday: American Dervish: Milwaukee-born writer Ayad Akhtar’s debut novel, American Dervish, is a coming-of-age tale with a twist. As he tells the story of Pakistani-American teenager, Hayat Shah, Akhtar presents a complex and deeply personal portrayal of what it means to grow up Muslim in America.

Wednesday: Winning the War on War: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria — the list of wars seems to go on and on. But in his new book, Winning the War on War, Joshua Goldstein argues that the tide of war is, in fact, receding. He claims that fewer wars are starting, and more are ending.

Thursday: The Lakota Way of Strength and Courage: Joseph Marshall III is a teacher, historian, writer and Lakota craftsman and archer, who has won awards for his screenplays, fiction and historical books. Recipient of the Wyoming Humanities Award, his most recent book is The Lakota Way of Strength and Courage: Lessons in Resilience from the Bow and Arrow.

Friday: Foodistan!: A new front in the decades-old standoff between India and Pakistan, Foodistan, an Indian reality TV show, pits the best chefs of the dueling nations against each other in a cross-border cook-off. In this showdown, tactical deployment of spices is what "curries" the day. A food fight or a recipe for peace?

Yadda-dada-dada... That's all, Folks!